June lawn mushrooms

With all this rain, my lawn is bristling with wild mushrooms. Some of these are edible and tasty. Others are not edible, and one species, Conocybe filaris, is very poisonous. Although these little lawn-lovers tend to be hard for beginners to identify, not many other species grow in June. So they offer a good opportunity to practice our identification skills while we wait for the chanterelles to appear next month.

Avoid eating small manure-growing and woodchip-mulch growers that also appear in the spring.

The most common edible mushroom that grows in my lawn this month is the Mower's Mushroom, Panaeolina foenisecii. It has dark brown spores, and a two-toned light/dark brown cap as it dries. Although it was once erroniously called psychedelic, and was said to cause occasional stomach upsets, I have never heard of anyone having problems. I have eaten it every year since I was a youngster. It's quite tasty, with an earthy flavor.

Another tasty edible spring lawn species I enjoy eating is the Hemispheric Agrocybe, Agrocybe pediades. The neatly rounded yellow-brown cap looks like a small ball neatly sliced in half. The long, hollow, skinny stem, precise-looking gills, and dark brown spore print further help to separate it

Everywhere here, the White Dunce Cap, Conocybe apala, is growing lawns. They are delicate, short lived and very fragile. If you catch them  at just the right time, you will see the skinny stem snapped over from the weight of the tiny cap. Now, that’s fragile. Not edible.

One more spring lawn species you should know about if you enjoy eating wild mushroom is the Common Psayhyrella, Psathyrella candolleana. It's bigger than most spring lawn mushrooms, and likes to grow from buried wood or near old stumps. The thin, honey-yellow cap with delicate tissue paper-like fragments hanging from the edge when young; the thin, close, pale purplish-brown gills; and long, hollow stem are important identifying features. This is another very fragile mushroom, and is very good eating.

Other species grow in lawns, especially if old wood is present, but the selection I mentioned will keep you busy with your mushroom identification books.

Happy hunting.

Bill R.